Freshly returned from retreat and settling back in slowly. Reentry is always a little weird – I’ve spent a week doing yoga at 6am and eating brown rice at every meal* and not sneezing,** not having internet access,***  and doing things I’ve never done before, and here I am at home in my comfort zone again, and it’s a little tough to scramble into action.

But I brought my mom to the airport early early this morning, and listened to Krishna Das all the way home. The clouds parted halfway there and the world was lit golden, and I got a little bit ecstatic, it was so beautiful.

I went out with my mom and my mother in law, a three-pack of curious ladies, and I’ll admit, I was a little anxious beforehand about going like this, all enfamilied. But things went swimmingly over the week. We took a four-day workshop on collage art led by Karen Arp-Sandel, and it was really pretty osm. There were really great demos on how to work with paper, and luxurious studio time through the whole session. TONS of studio time – I felt a bit spoiled. But, you know, in a really good way.

Both the moms had a good time too, playing in the medium. It was really neat to see the two of them in action – neither of them had any experience with collage, and they both got into the zone, creating, playing with the paper techniques, building stories with their images. And they spent as much time in the studio during downtime as I did, so the process clearly drew them.

My mom and I have gone now to Kripalu three times, and I think we’ll be going back again (maybe even for the same workshop next year – we were talking about that last night). The atmosphere of retreat is truly refreshing. As she said yesterday, it’s like everyone, “…checks their rude at the door.” People are really pleasant, really considerate, very encouraging – the staff and the guests, both. It feels really great.

My favorite part of being there, aside from the locale (zomg, the Berkshires are not only beautiful, but they smell amazing), is the morning routine. When we’re there I wake at 6, brush my teeth and wander dreamily down to morning yoga. Then a shower and silent breakfast (silent!) – the whole process of waking like that just makes me yummy inside. The outside world, where I live every day, just isn’t like that – to get that in I’d have to wake at 5, and that… well, it’s really… well, it’s just an hour earlier than I like to be awake, yanno?

The best part of this year’s visit was that I tried stuff I had never tried before. Because I can be chickenshit. That self-centered fear just grips me sometimes, and I hate it because it can keep me from doing things that I really want to do. Like a few years ago when I was at a ropes course thingsy – I was all excited in advance about being up in the air, but when the instructor asked who wanted to try stuff, I never raised my hand, because the idea of everyone else in the group looking at me made me flush and cringe. And when we left I was totally bummed out that I hadn’t gone up. Well, last year when we went on retreat, I didn’t do some of the evening programs that I was interested in because I was afraid – I was afraid that I’d mess up somehow, and everyone would know it was me. And they’d be mad.

Which really? Is kind of stupid. So! This year I made it to both the drum circle,  and the kirtan. And you know what? I drummed! And I sang! And it felt GREAT.**** I would love to say something like, gosh, I don’t know why I was so anxious! but that’s really not how it works, right? But on the other hand, now I have this experience under my belt of how comfortable and nonjudgmental it was, and I’m less afraid, less self-conscious. I would do both or either again – maybe entering with some nervousness, but definitely with less. And that? Worth so much – SO much.

One of my favorite things right now is this song – driving home from the airport this morning, listening to the Krishna Das cd, I suddenly went, Hey! I know that one! We did that last night! Enjoy =)


PS – Mom! Look!

Kirtan with Krishna Das

Friday, April 1, 2011
7:30 pm
Saturday, April 2, 2011
8:00 pm
Combining devotional yoga, Western grooves, and soulful chanting, Krishna Das has been called the “Chant Master of American yoga” by the New York Times. You have two chances to join him for a joyous evening of call-and-response chanting with his special brand of devotional music, energized with contemporary melodies accessible to Western hearts.

Admission: Free for participants in Krishna Das’ weekend program; $30 for general public; $25 for in-house guests. Note There are no general public tickets available for Saturday evening’s performance.

Is that the weekend you’re back in town?


*A meal that someone else cooks for me – what a luxury!
**Dear gawd – it’s the cats. I spent fifteen years living with them, and suddenly I’m allergic. What is that??
***They do have wi-fi there. I do not, tho’, have a laptop.
****And now I want to find a drum circle where we live. For reals.